Tips for Race Day
What will I need when attending a swimming gala with RCT Performance Swim Squad?
To help you when packing for a swimming gala we have put together a swimming gala check list.
Please check that you have packed the following kit for all swimming gala’s. Make sure you pack your own bag. You’re the athlete (not your mum or dad) and you need to be sure you have everything you need with you and know where it is.
An early night
There is NO substitute for sleep and you need it before competition. The night before eat a big bowl of pasta, rice or potatoes, relax and then head for bed…early!
What’s the point in training hard for months and then exhausting your body the night before?
Taking on Fuel
Remember what you eat pre-race will affect your performance. You should NOT change your eating habits drastically on the day you have a gala.
Try and eat a moderate-sized meal at least 2 1/2 to 3 hours before competing, if you are in a morning session, eat something which is light on the stomach and that you enjoy (porridge, lots of jam/honey toast, cereal and juices).
Do not eat anything large during the gala sessions, and especially in between heats except sugary sweets like boiled sweets. Keep well hydrated by taking little sips of your drink, this stops you from feeling bloated.
Save money and make your own brand energy drink: bit of fruit juice, lots of water, pinch of sugar, pinch of salt. It will be just as good as or better than the bottles of energy drink you can buy.
Once you are out of the water after a race, remember you can’t go back, that race is done and is now history – review with the coach in the squad area, take any advice and move on.
You now need to prepare your body for the next race; have a drink, refuel with a sweet, fruit, dates and apricots – remember all low volume but high sugar.
This is very important because for a short time (10-20 mins) after a high-intensity activity like a race our bodies use any sugar we take and sends it not to our stomach but direct to our muscles ready for more activity.
Keep your body warm by putting on your tee-bag and keep flexing and stretching.
Please warm-up on the poolside as well as in the water. This should last for approx. 15 minutes and include:
Stretching will help you swim faster! This is because it causes the fibres in the muscle to lengthen. Longer muscle-fibres generate more contraction strength than shorter fibres. Don’t over-stretch and cause yourself an injury but they should be flexed. During any exercise your muscles produce lactic acid that causes the muscles-fibres to shorten and reduce strength. This is what we feel as fatigue develops and our muscles begin to ‘tighten up’. If you begin swimming with well-stretched longer muscle-fibres, you will be stronger for longer as the lactate builds up. This will help you attack the race.
Your Coach will advise on the sets to complete in the Pool during warm up.
After your warm-up, take a hot shower, dry yourself off and keep warm. Change your costume and wear a dry swimming suit. It might be a long time before your swim and you need to keep your muscles warm! You will see many elite swimmers getting fully dressed in warm cloths and even wearing a hood or a woolly hat. This is not a fashion statement! You should have dry and warm feet. Keep moving and doing light stretches to loosen your muscles
Remember you are part of a Squad, so support your team-mates and think positive.
All RCT Performance Swim Squad staff and supporters wish you good luck!